The human race seems to be constantly striving for the perfect life balance. A few hundred years ago, happiness seemed to be simple: food, shelter, moderate health, appreciation for nature around us.
Over the centuries, we’ve come to expect these as a part of merely existing, and we now crave a ‘higher level’ of happiness to keep us satisfied. More than ever, success (wealth, material possessions, stature) plays in to any measure of happiness. And today, the World Happiness Report evaluates these new criteria for happiness and success.
World Happiness Report, Visualized
Success has its own perils, of course, and they vary from place to place. It begs the question: has anyone in the world managed to strike this perfect balance of happiness? Is there a secret magic formula?
And how much does this formula change in different places? Do you think your city is a happy place to live? What do you think contributes to people’s happiness there?
No matter cultural variance or success in the city, through much research and experience, we know that factors like sunlight exposure make us much happier; it is chemical and scientific in fact. But is making a higher salary in less sunny city worth the trade off?
Using the latest World Happiness Report, Vivid Doors picked a select few of what they felt to be the major influencers of happiness and used the data to create some ‘visual data artwork’ for major cities around the world.
The illustrated World Happiness Report data represents each one of these concepts:
1 – Green View Index2 – Average Hours of Sunshine3 – World Happiness Rating (a lower score is a happier rating)4 – Average Monthly Salary (in U.S. dollars)5 – Average Monthly Temperature (in degrees Celsius)6 – Pollution Rating7 – Population Density (per square kilometer)8 – Average Monthly Rainfall (in milliliters)
Use the image key to get the lay of the land, and start diving into urban happiness. And read the full World Happiness Report right here.
Despite Japan’s lovely mountains, blossoms, and gardens, Kobe has a green view index of just 9.4%! Considering how much emphasis Japanese culture and tradition put on appreciating nature, this could contribute to the reason they only have a World Happiness Rating of 54.
London is another city of averages, although the green view index is suffering at 12.7%. Their pollution rating is surprisingly low at 11, but if the readings are from the very center of London, the congestion charges may have helped reduce pollution.
Los Angeles, USA
Surrounded by national parks, mountains and nature reserves, L.A. itself suffers from a green view index of only 15.2%, this may be down to the construction of large multi-lane highways or freeways that connect the different regions of Los Angeles.
Miami has an average green view index of 19.4%, thanks in part to those iconic palm-lined ocean drives. Their very low pollution rating of 8 could be impacted by the high rates of walking, cycling and skating.
New York, USA
For a big bustling city that never sleeps, the pollution level isn’t too disastrous at 9, but that may be down to people avoiding the roads altogether and opting for the subway. Inhabitants definitely benefit from a larger than average monthly salary, but New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Quito inhabitants are decidedly less happy that their counterparts, with a rating of 48. Pollution seems to be creeping up, and the green view index sits at a paltry 10.8%, mainly due to deforestation and rapidly rising population. The average monthly salary is also below average at $551.67 USD.
Sacramento boasts a low population density of 1,800 people per square kilometer; however the average monthly salary is the LOWEST of our list at $484.48 USD. This doesn’t seem to phase people much though: their World Happiness Rating is a good average of 18. And their 3607.8 hrs of sunlight a year would help make anyone happy.
Sao Paolo, Brazil
Brazil is renowned for its lush vegetation and tropical biodiversity, but in Sao Paolo, the green view index is a worrying 11.7%. The World Happiness Rating is below average, and pollution is creeping up, though the average monthly salary is a healthy $3,684 USD.
People in Seattle are the second best well paid on the list, with an average monthly salary of $4,568.52 USD. Seattle also enjoys a very good pollution rating of 6, and there are over 400 public parks, with Discovery Park coming in at is 534 acres.
Singapore is renowned for its commitment to become the world’s greenest city and calls itself the Garden City. This doesn’t seem to have translated into happiness for the population, as they currently rate at 34.
With a low population density at 400 people per square kilometer, low pollution levels, and quite a high average monthly salary, Sydney residents are quite happy. Certainly, there’s got to be some thanks to the 2635.5 hours of sunlight per year.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv has one of the worst pollution ratings. This can be explained by the relatively small area (52 square kilometers), a high population density (8,353 people per square kilometer), and a below average green view index. However, this doesn’t seem to affect the people of Tel Aviv too much; they’re well above average on the World Happiness Rating with an 11.
The people of Toronto seem to be super content with a World Happiness Rating of 7. And with a pollution rating as low as 9, their enjoyment of fresh, crisp air has got to contribute.
Turin’s pollution rating comes in with a grim reading of 32, the second highest on our list. In 2017, Turin exceeded EU standards for safe limits of pollution and resulted in a daytime traffic ban in a bid to reduce the dangerous levels. Turin also appears very low on the World Happiness Ratings at 47, which could correlate with the smog and traffic levels.
Vancouver has a very healthy standing in the green view index of 25.9%, coupled with a good pollution rating of 7, this must explain in some part their World Happiness Rating of 6.
Article by Amy Hunt